The new and updated sequel sounds fun, albeit a little weird.
Disney announced today that they have hired writers and assigned producers to a sequel to the 1991 action adventure movie The Rocketeer. There are several interesting things at play in the initial release, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:
- It’s being produced by Brigham Taylor, who co-produced the CGI party The Jungle Book alongside Jon Favreau.
- It will be co-produced by NBA star Blake Griffin and NFL star Ryan Kalil, who have started a production company together.
- It will be a direct sequel to the original, set six years after the original Rocketeer, following the disappearance of Cliff Secord in his battles against the Nazis.
- It will feature a new hero, a young African–American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.
- It is being co-written by Matt Spicer and Max Winkler, the latter of whom has spent time directing episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl.
It’s all a very fascinating project that, like Ghostbusters this summer, will seek to tell a story that is more diverse and inclusive. This will undoubtedly rub some factions of the Internet the wrong way. Despite being a relative box office dud (it got crushed in ’91 by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), The Rocketeers has grown into a sort of cult hit among the children of the ’90s.
So get ready – “They’re Ruining My Childhood” is coming again and it’s coming strong. As someone who has long loved The Rocketeer, it’s easy for me to watch it with a more mature sensibility and realize that while fun, it’s not exactly a classic piece of art. It’s corny and visually a victim of its era. It’s one part Dick Tracy, one part Indiana Jones, all bad acting from Billy Campbell. In fact, it’s a movie that I’ve always thought could benefit from a modern update. Modern visual effects – the kind that made Iron Man a three-time box office success – could be used to make a more realistic, more fluid action adventure. It’s reminiscent of Star Trek’s 2009 restart. Yesterday’s movies are great fun, but today’s effects can really make them jump off the screen. Plus, there’s the added benefit of finding a new audience and creating an entirely new character to carry on the Rocketeer mantle.
The good news with this one is that it’s being written as a sequel, not a remake. This will exist within the original Rocketeer universe, but be comprised of a new group of characters. Sort of like that Star Wars movie that did alright for itself under the Disney banner. I’m sure there will be plenty of people mad that Disney is touching the “untouchable” legacy of a movie that earned a collective “meh” from critics and audiences, but count me among the curious, the interested, and the intrigued. If there’s any movie that could use an update – especially visually – after 25 years, it’s The Rocketeer.